The effect of substrate material on silver nanoparticle antimicrobial efficacy

Benita J. Dair, David M. Saylor, T. Eric Cargal, Grace R. French, Kristen M. Kennedy, Rachel S. Casas, Jonathan E. Guyer, James A. Warren, Chang Soo Kim, Steven K. Pollack

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


With the advent of nanotechnology, silver nanoparticles increasingly are being used in coatings, especially in medical device applications, to capitalize on their antimicrobial properties. The attractiveness of nanoparticulate silver systems is the expected increased antimicrobial efficacy relative to their bulk counterparts, which may be attributed to an increased silver ion (Ag +) solubility, and hence availability, that arises from capillarity effects in small, nanometer-sized particles. However, a change of the material upon which the antimicrobial nanoparticulate silver is deposited (herein called "substrate") may affect the availability of Ag + ions and the intended efficacy of the device. We utilize both theory and experiment to determine the effect of substrate on ion release from silver particles in electrochemical environments and find that substrate surface charge, chemical reactivity or affinity of the surface for Ag + ions, and wettability of the surface all affect availability of Ag + ions, and hence antimicrobial efficacy. It is also observed that with time of exposure to deionized water, Ag + ion release increases to a maximum value at 5 min before decreasing to undetectable levels, which is attributed to coarsening of the nanoparticles, and which subsequently reduces the solubility and availability of Ag + ions. This coarsening phenomenon is also predicted by the theoretical considerations and has been confirmed experimentally by transmission electron microscopy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8456-8462
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Bioengineering
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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